As many that have received
the gift, minister it to one another,
as good stewards of the manifold Grace of God
DISCIPLES ARE PARTAKERS OF THE LIFE OF JESUS
KOINONIA: SHARING, COMMUNICATING, AND PARTAKING IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD
IS ABOUT PARTAKING OF THE LIFE OF GOD AND THE
MINISTRY OF JESHUA (JESUS)
is the living "head of the church" for all believers. He has
provided a way for us to come to the Father, know him, and follow him.
The original twelve disciples followed him during the Lord's earthly
ministry, they walked at his side, conversed with him, and were both
witnesses to and partakers of his Spiritual ministry.
They knew his voice; witnessed his power and authority; and marveled
at his wisdom. On a strictly physical level they knew him! Nevertheless
this was not considered adequate to qualify these original disciples
to bring the gospel to the world. They were exhorted to receive a supernatural
empowerment which was "the promise of the Father." "Wait
in Jerusalem until you receive power from above- -" This is the
empowerment that would demonstrate and build the Kingdom of God. In
the Christian world today I suspect that too few nominal Christians
are able to say they know him on a Spiritual level. Yes Christians
today are familiar with the name of Jesus the Christ, We hear his name
mentioned in sermons, have studied some Biblical doctrines and teachings;
but how much do we truly know the power of his love and in the power
of his resurrection? Paul teaches us that the Gospel is
about Christ's power directed to us! Without the manifestation of the
active power of God we would have an incomplete gospel.
as a disciple, is God's expectation for every believer; No church house
attender should remain a novice, a baby in the faith or an outside observer.
Through the power of the Spirit we may attain "unto the stature
of a 'mature man' even the stature of Christ." (Ephesians 4). The
exaltation of only a single voice to disciple is seriously limiting.
Pulpit ministry is an unfortunate self- perpetuating legacy of 17 centuries
of the "Church" age. Those who in fact have experience in
Christ's life and ministry, made possible by the power of the Holy Spirit
have a title in the Word of God; these individuals are called "elders."
Certainly church denominations today use this same term within some
context of their doctrines. But those who Jesus calls elders may differ
from what religious traditions might label as elders. The apostle John,
the disciple who Jesus loved, begins his letter by talking about Spiritual
experience as the qualification (credentials) that we must look
to and lean upon. He noted what he had seen, touched, looked upon, and
handled in the Word of life. (1John1:1)That which was from the beginning,
which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have
looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life, these
things we declare unto you - -; This statement points to the hands
on experience of Spiritual things which are provided by the Holy Spirit
who takes that which Jesus provides and presents this to us. By this
the Father is glorified.
Ministry Edifies, Strengthens, and Blesses
pertains to the edification and maturing of the body of Christ. This
need not be the formal sort of ministry experienced as the normal Saturday
or Sunday fare in a typical congregation. In the form presented by the
apostles it is the living, pure, peaceable, and entirely informal sharing
of the life of Christ and the acknowledgment of the revelation of the
Word of Truth, among believers. We pass through various stages as we
grow. Just as in the natural, we begin as babies, then children,
the strong young 'men', then mature sages expressing the character and
spiritual nature of Jesus Christ. So is it in the matter of Spiritual
growth. The Bible shows how we each are called to minister
our individual Spiritual gifts to one another. (Rom.12; 1Cor.12. 1 Cor.
14, and 1Pet 4:10,11)
Individuals have various of testimonies and experiences, some have more, some less. There may be some with musical gifts which enhance worship and some with less of that ability. Some may have verbal skills, some less. Some with practical kinds of skills, some not so much. Some may be working through personal tragedies or rejection, while others have already had healing in these areas. All need to be encouraged to participate at some level so that leadership skills may be fostered in each.
The dynamics of fellowship changes from week to week as fewer or more people are present at a house or meeing place. I believe fellowship should never turn into something that is impersonal or formalistic. However it often becomes that especially when everything is controlled by one leader. Those unfamiliar with such kinds of fellowship need to experience what things can and do happen in a place of meeting where the Spirit of God is given liberty! God can make his glorious presence known; lift people out of their fears and oppression; bring joy and healing; restore broken hearts and broken relationships and save peoples souls. The Holy Spirit administers just such actions. (See link to Why We Gather )
The encroachment of formalism
A Religious spirit in the form of rulership, control or formalism, continuously stalks the believer with the aim of transforming God-life into dead religion. Church liturgy was put together in times past, perhaps following just after the kind of glorious fellowship described above. Liturgical forms may have started with good intentions with the hope of bottling up something very good and worthwhile, perhaps to preserve some of the glory of an earlier day. If only God's manifest presence could be captured and preserved, but alas it can not. He is moving on as the pillar of cloud moved ahead directed the sojourners in the wilderness in the book of Exodus.
The Bible demonstrates that God's presence can not be captured and preserved. The Israelites of old tried to do so, but when God's Glory departed it was gone they were left with a lifeless object (an idol.) The temple remained, the glory was gone. The brazen serpent remained, but the manifestation of its power was gone. A cistern remained, the fount of living water was gone. God's continued glory and fellowship with us is determined by the hearts of those who gather to worship him. With passing years catechism remained but the glory had been lost. The ritual enactments remained and the liturgical trappings but the presence of God vanished. Ritual happens, I believe, when men try to duplicate a behavior which once brought forth God's 'glory' through waiting upon Him in faith.
As God's presence leaves it is replaced by religion. Elements and doctrines that remain are a substitute for God's presence. "Ministry" follows a similar transition. Leadership becomes the domain of a very small body of liturgical experts. It has come to pass that the priesthood or the clergy only is trained and authorized to govern and rule over the flock of God. But in the new covenant as it was presented to the saints, discipleship is the domain of every believer.
is a paradigm re-think: Abolish the Laity!
God wishes each believer to be a ministering
Disciples, Learning the "Way"
The foundation of the life of Christ is laid by becoming a disciple of Jesus. Just as Jesus set about making disciples in the time of his earthly ministry so he continues today. (John 8:21 ; 17:20) The Great Commission is about discipleship. Too often, the Christian world has made the life of the Bible remote and impersonal through religion . It has made Peter, James and John or John the Baptist into icons or religious super heroes. It is too easy to lose the sense that Peter, James, Paul and Barnabus and the host of others are our brothers and our teachers. Though now having run their race, they shared the same life of trials and faith as we ourselves. In our minds Bible days were entirely another time, another kind of faith life , another dispensation. This is not the case. Religious tradition places men on pedestals.This should not be the case because it is contrary to every apostolic and Christ-uttered teaching. God does not show favoritism nor does he show respect of persons. s many that have received the gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the Grace
may be interested in checking out the writing
of Frank Viola and George Barna
that have received the gift, minister it to
one another, as good stewards of the Grace